Swifties queue up for special letter from singer in boost for UK’s Record Store Day

<span>Taylor Swift peforms in Singapore during her Eras Tour in March.</span><span>Photograph: Ashok Kumar/TAS24/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management</span>
Taylor Swift peforms in Singapore during her Eras Tour in March.Photograph: Ashok Kumar/TAS24/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management

Taylor Swift fans joined queues outside vinyl shops yesterday for the annual Record Store Day in the hope of securing a limited edition note from “the desk of Taylor Swift”.

The “handwritten” note came with a limited number of copies of the musician’s latest album, The Tortured Poets Department, which was released on Friday.

Spotify announced that Swift had made history as the most-streamed artist in a single day, with the most streamed album and track in a single day. The album is the first in Spotify history to have more than 300m streams in one day.

While the album itself is not an official Record Store Day (RSD) release, the note celebrated the event, which promotes independent retailers. “Happy Record Store Day!!” it reads. “Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for welcoming The Tortured Poets Department into your vinyl collection and your life.

“It’s my goal to create a memento you’ll want to keep forever, and I hope you’ll feel that with every turn of the page of the lyric book, every secret thought poured into this work. It’s an honour to be able to trust you with my feelings. Love, Taylor.”

Paddy Lacy Scott, from Rough Trade in Soho, London, said that several hundred more copies of Swift’s album had to be ordered to keep up with the expected demand.

In total, thousands more records across different genres had to be ordered, with pop music, especially by artists popular with younger generations, proving a big hit. Scott said: “We’ve had to order more Gen Z favourite pop music … so far they’re all selling well.”

Record Store Day was started in 2007, with more than 270 venues across the UK now taking part. Organisers predicted this year’s event would give these shops a boost of £9.7m. Artists such as Olivia Rodrigo, Laufey, and Noah Kahan all released official RSD-exclusive products, only available to buy on the day in shops. Rough Trade store manager William Thomas Yates said: “It’s great that vinyl is this popular among younger music fans.”

The vinyl resurgence, which has seen a new generation of music lovers turning to the classic format, has pushed sales to their highest annual level since 1990. British Phonographic Industry (BPI) figures show that vinyl sales grew for the 16th consecutive year in 2023 – with much of this credited to younger fans.

Related: Taylor Swift: The Tortured Poets Department review – a whole lotta love gone bad

“I think [physical music] is cooler because I can show my friends my collection,” said Hannah Tascione, 19, browsing at Rough Trade. “The act of putting the vinyl on your player is more of a moment than just pressing play on Spotify.”

Tascione, who was shopping with her friend Callie Bartkin, 18, was purchasing a RDS special by indie-pop band the 1975. Bartkin added: “On Spotify whenever I shuffle it’ll play songs from varying artists, but when I listen to a vinyl I listen to the whole entire collection from that artist.”

In addition to buying vinyl, London-based Swifties flocked to The Black Dog pub in Vauxhall, south London, after it appeared to be name-checked in The Tortured Poets Department on a track of the same name. Swift sings: “And so I watch as you walk into some bar called The Black Dog.” The album features mentions of a number of London locations, from Hampstead Heath to Shoreditch.

Amy Cowley, who works at the pub, told the PA news agency they had stocked more pint glasses after fans bought them as souvenirs. “Last night we were turning people away because we were at total mass capacity. We’re expecting a lot more.”

“Cowley said it had been a “whirlwind”: “to now get that sort of international level of recognition is surreal but it’s lots of fun.”